The Disease Of Self-Starvation: Anorexia Nervosa Essay, Research Paper
Turn on any television show or look through any teen magazine, and what do you usually see? You will probably notice at least one ad for a food product that is being eaten by happy and good looking people. What is the message being sent to our adolescents today? Is it better to eat good food or be thin like a model? This is a hard choice that teenage girls have to face everyday. Most people believe that thinner is better. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that usually strikes women. The term anorexia means ?loss of appetite?. Of the 7 million women from age 15 to 35 who have an eating disorder, many will die from the complications of anorexia. They suffer from eating disorders because of anger, depression, and the wish to be thin. Teens that control their body weight gives them a sense of control in their lives. Someone that suffers from an eating disorder is a person that uses food to work out emotional problems and tries to get rid of feelings by eating or dieting. But what influences dieting in the first place? Psychological influences and genetics are the main influences on eating disorders in general. Mothers of anorexics are themselves focused on their own weight and appearance. Woman struggle to make their bodies conform to the ideal female body and appearance.
Anorexia nervosa is defined as a disorder in which a person becomes noticeably underweight, yet feels fat and fears becoming obese. Of all anorexics, 95% of them are women under twenty. This usually begins as a weight-loss diet and develops in adolescence. Anorexics never believe that they are thin enough and they limit their intake of food. They see themselves as ?too fat?, no amount of food is small enough, and no weight is ever low enough. By starving themselves, it helps them deal with normal pressures of life as a teenage girl in society. They begin to pull away from those around them even before the disorder begins. The pattern of withdrawal makes it difficult for others to realize the disorder.
Generally, an observation of physical symptoms will quickly confirm the diagnosis of anorexia. These symptoms are identical to starvation. Signs of anorexia include weight loss, loss of appetite, menstrual period stops, seeing food as an enemy, continual exercise, and the fear of gaining weight. The physical signs of anorexia include dizziness, insomnia, numbness in hands and feet, infections that do not heal, heart failure, and bruises. Anorexia can lead to severe medical problems and even death. At this time, there is no treatment program for anorexia nervosa that is completely effective.
There is no single personality type of a person suffering from anorexia nervosa. People who develop anorexia tend to share certain characteristics. Their parents often describe them as model children, high achievers who have never once been in trouble. They are perfectionists; they tend to be self critical. They also tend to be very controlled people who stick to certain schedules and do not like changes in routines.
Most anorexics deny that they suffer from an eating disorder. The first step to getting help with an eating disorder is to recognize that the problem exists. Know that you have a problem and that you need to get help to solve the problem. There are many ways to get help. By telling a friend, it makes the problem seem more manageable and you know that there is someone that will help guide you through the process of recovery. Support groups devoted to eating disorders are available all over the country. They are groups of people that share the same problem that you have and is led by an experienced counselor or person who once had the problem and has recovered. By attending a support group, it lets the person know that he or she is not alone and people are their to help them recover completely. Counseling is also available through school or a local social-service agency. A counselor is there to listen to your problem and help you get through it. One last way to get help with an eating disorder is to see a nutritionist. That person can help identify food allergies, cravings, and other problems that may contribute to eating disorders. He or she can help you develop a diet that will feel satisfying while helping the person to gain or lose weight. Seeking help may be a painful experience for the anorexic. He or she must face problems and feelings that have been avoided for a long period of time. But best of all, acknowledging an eating disorder and committing himself or herself to overcoming it means that he or she can look forward to the day when food is not longer a terrifying temptation or a secret, it is just another enjoyable and satisfying part of life.